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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation 



Eric Beresky 
Alfred Bemheim 
Brian Jackson 

Steve Kotler 
Stan Mucha 
Carrie Preston 

Contributing Authors: 

Eric Beresky 
Alfred Bemheim 
Bail Robynne Blum 
Edward O'Brien Jr. 
Leah Braes 
Samantha Cichocki 
Matthew Dougherty 

Christina Faust 
Stephanie Kightlinger 
Steve Kotler 
Kim Podolsky 
Carrie Preston 
Alan LaRock 
David Dello Russo 

Dr. Richard Ziemer 

Contributing Artists: 

Eric Beresky Heather Newcomb 

Jennifer Berstti Carrie Preston 
Steve Sattler 

"The Warmth of a Memory" 

As I sit and wonder in the cool, tranquil air 
I'm warmed with the memory of a man who cared 
A memory as vivid as the sun's rays at dawn 
Our hearts are now heavy knowing he's gone 

With outstretched arms and a warm embrace 
Mr. S. live his life with a smile on his face 
He'd open his home to all that he knew 
Unselfish and giving to me and you 

When, like an eagle, we'd soar, he was right along side 
His friends and his family were where he found pride 
In our hearts there is a special place we will hold 
For a man who has touched us in ways that are untold 

To all he left a special bond 

A family of which he was very fond 

So in this time of great sorrow and pain 

We must look to each other for the strength to sustain 

As the darkness falls and brings the night sky 
I'm rekindled by the spirit that has not said goodbye 
For his memory lives on in each one of you 
Those that he loved, those that he knew 

The time has come for our heartfelt goodbyes 
To a friend whose memory brings tears to our eyes 
But we must move on and spread our wings 
And remember the warmth that a memory brings 

written in the memory of Mr. Schatschneider 
by Matthew Dougherty 

Now and Forever 

Just hold me in your arms 
Every night 
Never let me go 
Not for one moment 
I need you loving me 
Forsaking all others 
Accepting all flaws 
Respecting me for who I am 

Make me yours 

Right or Wrong 
In happy times 
Even in sorrow 

Hear my cries 
Open your heart 
Receive the love 
I give to you 
Now and Forever! 

Dedicated to Jenn and Wyatt 

By: Stephanie Kightlinger 

Beauteous flowers bloom by 

the twinkling of a creek. 
And a hush throughout the forest 

To the heart, the soul, the joy 

of our humanness. 
Spinning around in a rush of 

gold, green, violet, blue. 
A spectrum bursts like a stained 

glass window around me. 
Rejoice, Live, Run, 

Freedom and Love and Joy 

course through my veins 
As I stare in awe at the 

oneness, the unity of 
spirit in the turning 
Of the world. 

by Leah Brachs 



Once upon a mealtime dreary, 
While we labored long and weary, 
Shelling shrimp for mortals, 
Came this feline to our portal. 

White she was and free of tether, 
Licking whiskers soft and fine, 
But alas, she had no collar; 
"Fluff" became her name in time. 

Under silent silver stars 

To my eyes nothing can compare, 

Such a vision to behold, 

Such a sight to draw my stare. 

So elegant and pristine 

That a touch would bring desecration, 

A singular creation 

SO beautiful, so beautiful. 

Midnight births the chimes 

Of a thousand chapel bells 

Of brass, of bronze, of gold, 

The flower of a hundred winds 

Laced with jasmine, cinnamon and clove. 

A rare find 

So foreign to mine eyes, 

Save this treasure for the future 

So beautiful, so beautiful. 

AristoCAJically espoused us, 

Claimed our Persian rugs for liars; 

Whiskers Lickins as her menus, 

Made her meals from Checkerboard Square. 

Her curious reluctance to leave 
Convinced us that she liked our fare. 
And sine that day eight years ago 
Has spent the best of nine lives here 

by: Dr. Richard Ziemer 


by steve kotler 

Prozac divine 

Assuring lucid nightmares 

Ritualistic metabolic 

Talk to me naked on the 

Enchanted fraying carpet 

Clothe me with hallucinations 

Of a true sane world 

Feed me with dreams 

For innocence of being 

Because you know 

That's all you do 

Trip the cripple 

And beat the stub of 

The limb-less 

Until they lie mute, 


With agony 
Of being thrown 
From the carpet 
Where we float 
And feel safer 
Than in your world, 
Where we don't know how to be 
Or what to feel 
So we need you even more! 

So speak to me prozac! 

I want to know 

What you want from me 

Where do you subside? 

In that fixture on the white, matted walls? 

Speak to me and let me know 

If what you bring is truth 

Or just a madman's lonesome nightmare. 

I want to go home. 

Where did you hide the map? 

Sanitary White Walls 

Oh, sanitary white walls, 

Absent of any hue, 

Fall in on me, 

Fall in on ME, 

So tired-a spirit blue. 

And weary eyes 
Swear the room grows small, 
Or maybe-sweet tears, 
I grow too tall. 

Oh, sanitary white walls, 

Too bright for my vision, 

Such glare, 

Such glare, 

I'm plagued with indecision. 

Should I paint them 
This blood of mine red, 
Or leave them naked 
To ravage me head? 

Oh, sanitary white walls 

That rally for my death, 

Fall on me, 

Fall on ME, 

Swiftly steal my breath. 

by Carrie Preston 

There is an air of aloofness that always resides in my thoughts, a 
challenging ice sculpture of failed ideas that I must continuously convince 

myself were successful. And through these self lies I have become a 

zombie, frozen and immobilized. I have been banished to an Antarctica of 

my own creation, forced to socialize with fellow Penguins and hateful 

Sasquatches. Yes, I am cool, the almighty sophisticated and mature. I 

am the epitome of summer evenings spent restlessly at the beach with 

casual acquaintances who never remember anything. And why am I so 

cool? Why have I been chosen to play the role of a frostbitten popsicle 

left much too long in a colorful box behind stacks of tupperware? Why is 

the glaze of white crystals so thick upon my surface that my flavor can no 

longer be distinguished? The answer is because I unknowingly choose to 

be. I am afraid to decide between lime and cherry. I am secure on my 

lonely continent in the freezer. That is why I am cool. 

Making Waves 
by Carrie Preston 

The water held the same placid expression as my face as I stood 
before it challenging its stillness. Yet I could not break the aching silence. 
My eyes, though seemingly calm, flashed with this knowledge, that perhaps 
bestowed a greater hate for the unwanted serenity. Restless I fiddled with 
the gray pebble in my hand, tracing its shape again and again, almost 
eroding it with the tips of my fingers. I contemplated its spherical properties, 
comparing it with the celestial and distant, though its earthen nature I had 
acknowledged long ago. 

Desperately I clenched this stone, grasping in such a personal and 
intimate way how the extent of its power accompanied the insignificance of 
its being. 

Finally I threw it, its arch remaining for such a long and dangerous 
moment in the air, that it enhanced the ambience, screaming the purport for 
its existence. Then it fell. With force this miniature fragment shook the great 
and reaching water. It destroyed the false sense of peace that for so long 
hung over the lake. Pleased, I watched the circular ripples undulate from 
where the rock had pierced the surface, and pictured its descent to the 

Dad's Toolbox 
Dr. Richard Ziemer 

Did you ever want to play with the tools in your dad's toolbox? When I was 
a child, I learned early that Dad's toolbox was off limits to children; he would 
be upset not to find a wrench, pliers, or screwdriver that he counted on 
having handy in that greasy assortment of Sears Craftsman specimens of 
American-made machinery. 

As I became an investigative teenager, I used to ask if I could borrow a 
wrench, or pliers, or screwdriver; Dad would ask "Why?""What are you going 
to use it for?," or "Remember to put it back," or "Don't break it." I kept 
wanting my own box of tools, but Dad's were always better. Then, when I 
won a contest sponsored by General Motors for designing and building my 
own model car and received an X-acto Knife set, I appreciated in my own 
new tools what Dad had loved about his. 

Years passed, and one day in the summer of 1985, as I visited with my 
parents in Oregon, Dad was working on some lawn mowers in his garage. 
There I was-in my forties-feeling like a boy again, listening to Dad talk of 
the world, of me and my family, of himself-all accompanied by how people 
abused their !@#@! equipment and did not change the oil, or how they would 
run equipment as fast as the engine would go. That contrasted with how dad 
ran his life: always in low gear but moving constantly-always busy working 
seven days a week, with no sneeze factor of vacation or relaxation built into 
his life. 

As he worked, kneeling, forging a drive shaft from an abused lawnmower 
motor, he said, "Sometimes I feel dizzy, as if I'm going to fall down." I regret 
not getting him to a specialist for an exam, or diagnosis, or angioplasty, for 
I think that would have helped him. However, he did tell me he was seeing 
a doctor. 

Maybe that life-long work of seventy-three years was catching up with him; 
perhaps that is why he now felt dizzy. His body was sending him signals that 
we all ignored or missed. 

As he labored at what seemed to be trivial pursuits, I emptied tools from his 
toolbox and grabbed an oily rag and began cleaning and polishing all the 
snap-on 7/16, 1/2, 5/8ths-inch heads, then stiff, steel wrenches, and then 
pliers. When I had all the tools cleaned I turned his toolbox upside-down 
and got rid of a lifetime of dust, dirt, and grime; then I wiped it clean and put 
all the tools back in place as neatly as my obsessive-compulsive tendency 
could as Dad looked on. He remarked, "Do you keep all your tools like 
this?" "I try," I said. Then he thanked me and I stayed with him until the 
lawnmower purred like a new one. I felt satisfied that he finally "trusted" me 
enough to help him. 

Only three months later, when the call came that he had a stroke, I trembled 
that I would loose him. The day after Thanksgiving, November 29th, 1985, 
we did. I flew to Oregon to be by his side for what was the last full week of 
his life. I gazed at the cold, unused tool lying around the garage. I never 
noticed if the toolbox was neat or not, but after he died, I did ask Mom for 
some of them. 

I flew back to Pennsylvania, and one day there arrived in the mail a large, 
heavy box with a bronzed rod of assorted tools welded to it, resembling the 
skeleton of a giraffe standing on four angled legs of steel, and a note from 
Mom saying, "Here are some of dad Ziemer's tools for you to enjoy." 

It was a non-functional piece of art that rekindled memories. Only the pliers 
opened, and only the acetylene lighter sparked. But it stood as a constant 
reminder of some of the broken and non-broken tools that Dad worked with, 
but never discarded, that I had longed for, but seldom got to use. They 
could do anything for him, why not for me? 

In October 1951, our parents took us four boys out of school for a month so 
we could travel to Nebraska to visit my mother's father, who had had a 
stroke. The 1941 Chevrolet 2-door sedan that Dad had bought, which had 
a suspicious "knock" in the engine, carried us comfortably for about two 
hundred miles before two connecting rods burned out. Dad coasted into a 
wilderness-looking parking area beside a pile of red cinders kept for highway 
use. It was about 7:00 a.m. 

We raised and blocked the car, he removed the oil and oilpan, removed the 
defective bearings with his rusty tools, and hitchhiked to Burns, Oregon, 
about seventy miles away. When he returned well past lunchtime with new 
parts, some bread, cheese, and milk, we feasted, surrounded by sagebrush 
and a fire that a forest ranger said we could build to keep warm. Dad 
relayed how he walked for over an hour before anyone gave him a ride. 

That 20-hour vigil beside heavily-traveled Route 26 became the scene of a 
self-reliant master mechanic at work, helped by four adrenalin-filled boys 
and a patient wife. We took turns in the cold, handing out wrenches, holding 
the yellow fog light grounded against the engine compartment so Dad could 
see to put the pieces back in order. By the time all was in place, the battery 
had died, so we had to push the car to get it started. From 7:00 a.m. until 
about midnight we either played in the desert sagebrush, collected obsidian 
rocks and wood for a later science class, helped Dad, talked with a forest 
ranger, tended a huge fire, waved to people passing by, or bonded together 
on our banquet of bread, cheese, and milk. 

Dad's tools were worth their weight in gold; I know why he never left 
home without them. They always shared the trunk with the suitcases. Now 
I have a similar version in bronze to flood my memory of the most able- 
bodied hero I remember-Freddie Ezra Ziemer. 


Some years ago, I read, it began in California shortly after the close of 
the Second World War. It grew slowly at first, like the early stages of a 
malignancy. No one was aware of its existence or the danger it posed. 
Older people were the first to become alarmed by its virulence as it spread 
to every corner of the country. Now it threatened to jump the Atlantic and 
perhaps even the Pacific Oceans. Before long, its destructive power may be 
felt around the world. Surprisingly, most people are still obvious to this 
pervasive threat to civilized living. More ubiquitous than tract housing, 
automobile pollution or any known disease, it is encountered in the United 
States by nearly everyone, nearly every day. We all suffer in hidden ways 
from its baleful effects. I address the practice of promiscuous and 
indiscriminate use of first names. 

The origins of this historically unprecedented phenomenon are not to 
hard to trace. Millions of men took brides and established new lives in the 
West during the late nineteen forties and early fifties. In a totally new 
environment among people of one's own age, and away from the 
constraining influences of family and community ties, it was natural to 
behave more casually. The use of first names and the illusion of intimacy it 
engendered seemed to provide a short-cut to friendship. Everyone wants 
and needs friends, after all, but the much-touted modern way of life born 
after the war was certainly not conducive to finding them. Physical isolation 
inherent in the new low-density and sidewalk-free suburban housing made 
meeting people difficult enough. Compounding the problem was the lack of 
public transportation and total reliance on private automobiles. The need to 
spend hours every day alone sealed inside a car made matters worse. The 
rise of television during the same time obviated leaving one's home to see 
people. These factors taken together brought down the curtain on traditional 
forms of social intercourse. 

In more recent decades, the trend to move and change jobs frequently 
has accelerated. Most now seem to think there is not the time to develop the 
intimacy the use of first names once implied. People just go ahead and use 
them anyway, paradoxically making real friendship much more elusive and 
difficult to define than before. Gone from today's world is the beautiful 
moment I remember with such fondness from my childhood. After long and 
pleasant association with a neighbor or one of my friend's parents, my father 
or mother would say, "Do call me by my first name." The line had been 
crossed. With that warm and simple gesture, they gained a new friend. 

Use of first names cheapens relationships within families. When a 
child calls his mother "Sue" and his father "Bob," I think it fosters a nagging 
sense of insecurity in the child. By permitting the child to use a form of 
address properly reserved for his peers, parents almost imply they are 
abdicating authority and renouncing responsibility for their child. Children 
realize how dependent they are on their parents. They want to be reminded 
there is someone important at home in charge to guide and protect them. 
Lack of respect for parents is the inevitable result. Furthermore, in the 
course of a lifetime children will likely encounter hundreds of people, not all 
of them honorable, who share the sam given names as their parents. There 
will only ever be one Mom or Dad. 

Another deleterious effect of first name address is that it divorces 
people from their families. In former times this was not a factor because if 
you knew someone well enough to use his first name, you knew his family 
well, or at least knew who they were. This had two bad consequences. One 
is for the individual, the other is for society. 

Psychologists and sociologists who have studied fanatical religious 
cults and terrorist groups have determined that a principle motive for joining 
them is a deep craving among perfectly normal people to belong to 
something greater than themselves. If an adult is generally known by a title 
and a family name, his membership in that family is recognized and 
reinforced. This satisfies the fundamental need to belong, and has a very 
positive influence on a person's behavior. One is very likely to behave 
publicly in unattractive or disgraceful ways if one knows this behavior will 
color onlookers' perceptions of his parents or siblings. With 
the link of a common name, news of bad behavior is also 
very likely to get back to the family concerned. The family then imposes its 

own sanctions within the home. Conversely, sociologists have attributed the 
amazing levels of achievement found among children of recent immigrants 
from the Orient to their desire to elevate their families' prestige much more 
than their own personal status. Family influence thus strongly encourages 
success and discourages crime. Not using its name when addressing 
individuals may actually play a role in declining school achievement test 
scores and rising crime rates. 

Nearly everyone is frequently annoyed by the poor service and 
disrespectful treatment encountered in stores, restaurants and service 
establishments of every type today. Managers often require their staffs to 
wear bandages with their first names in hopes of promoting "friendliness" 
and good service. This has precisely the opposite of the intended result. 
The service personnel, who in reality, remain the strangers to the customers 
they are waiting on, are treated contemptuously by customers who have 
almost been given a green light by ludicrous name badges reading "Cindi" 
or "Tommy." It really is much more difficult to be rude to someone you 
address as "Mrs. Smith" or "Mr. Jones." Rudeness in most cases is 
reciprocated, so a vicious cycle of degenerating manners is thereby 
established. The distance and respect which use of a title implies prevents 
this from ever starting. 

Another problem with first name address is that strangers who attempt 
to use your first name have no way of knowing what name you use, even 
when they think they do. I would never dare to risk such embarrassment. 
Avery substantial number of people are never called by their given names 
or by its most popular diminutive form. I am always taken aback when a 
salesperson reads my name from a credit card during a transaction and 
proceeds to address me as "Al." My most intimate friends and family have 
never called me anything but "Alfred." My grandfather, for whom I was 
named, was always known to intimates as "AN." Unlike me, he probably 
would not have remained silent after such an affront. This misguided 
attempt to be friendly results in something grotesque. Suddenly everyone 
involved looks like a fool, feels like a fool, or is actually made a fool by the 
bungled attempt to use a first name which there was no reason to use in the 
first place. 

Since indiscriminate use of first names is of such recent origin, no 
graceful way has yet evolved to handle the unpredictable reactions to their 

inappropriate use. Consequently, many people go about unwittingly 
offending others all day long. Meanwhile, their victims seethe with 
resentment and impotent rage because of their inability to stop them. This 
makes stressful what otherwise would be routine encounters. 

Rebellion against the increasingly impersonal character of our 
computer-regimented world is understandable. The spirit behind the trend 
toward first name address is actually laudable. I hope I have been 
successful in showing why the practice itself is a failure. We will go a long 
way toward humanizing the society of the future if we look to our past. The 
respect you give someone by merely using the traditional form of a title and 
family name is an unexpected compliment certain to be warmly received. 
With this simple act, you have taken a big step toward real friendship. 

by: Alfred Bernheim 


One foot in the door and I saw it. The walk-in fireplace was 
surmounted by an imposing white mantel supported by pairs of ionic 
pilasters. To make sure it was not an illusion, I went over to touch the 
woodwork. My hand confirmed the search was over. The dream of the 
perfect place to live was now stunning, three-dimensional reality. I was no 
longer ambivalent about leaving my childhood home. I could not wait to 

Events moved quickly. Before the day was out, the owners had 
accepted our offer, and agreed upon a settlement date. Although the day 
was months off, time seemed short. My job took me overseas three days of 
every week, leaving at most four days at home to get ready. Planning and 
packing would have to begin at once. 

The days of gathering a few strong friends and going down to the U- 
Haul Center were by now long past. This was to be a big and complicated 
move. Careful planning was essential. 

Since my grandfather's death a few months before, our place looked like 
an estate auction preview at Christie's or Sotheby's. The house had already 
been saturated with furnishings from my Philadelphia apartment, closed 
back in 1979. Now even the garage was overwhelmed. We had to leave the 
cars, the bicycles, and even the lawn mowers out on the drive. 

My maniacally efficient mother, the consummate mover and genius 
of furniture placement, took command. The floor plan of the house had to 
be drawn to scale. "Don't forget to record ceiling heights, doorway and 
window measurements for passage," she said. One favorite 18th century 
pine cupboard required nine-foot clearance. A fraction of an inch can 
destroy a room plan completely if it prevents a critical piece from fitting 
where it must. 

I dreaded unpacking and repacking the garage to reach and measure 
inaccessible items. When I was tempted to merely estimate, I remembered 
that the price of a wrong guess was too great. It was not worth the chance 
that we might have to move a large, fragile antique down a long hallway only 
barely wide enough, or up one of the winding staircases, or perhaps even 
through a window to another floor by ourselves after the movers had gone. 

Then, from my list of measurements, I made paper cut-outs to the 
scale of the floor plan of all the important furniture. We were delighted to 
find that not only would everything fit, but the larger rooms of the new house 
would allow for many options. The nagging fear that my grandparents' 
beautiful Sheraton sideboard would not fit through the front door was 
allayed. There was nearly a quarter-inch to spare! Before long we had the 
whole house mapped out, and the labeling of furniture by room number and 
packing could begin. 

About three weeks before the move, I found the perfect tags to label 
the furniture. My counterpart at Japan Air Lines, who just checked out of my 
room, had left behind hundreds of cabin-baggage tags with bold letters 
stating "First Class." On the line for "destination" we would write the room 
number. What could be more appropriate? A few days after my return, 
every piece of furniture we owned was sporting a bright red, white, and gold 
JAL tag in preparation for "boarding." 

Moving day arrived. Like an Israeli general leading a commando raid, 
Mother came forward again. It seemed as though only minutes after the 
movers had arrived, the massive tractor-trailer was completely loaded and 
ready for "take off." 

That night, flabbergasted, I reveled in the new house. Walking from 
room to perfectly furnished room, I stared in disbelief. Nothing was broken. 
We had only pictures to hang and boxes to unpack. I had no sore muscles 
and was not even tired. Mother was right. Planning is everything. 

Antigone Mourning 
Edward O'Brien, Jr. 

Noble Antigone, long ago you sorrowed, 

as told in Sophocles' uplifting song, 

while others grieve now. 

A tale of ancient wrong 

and still-bitter grief, borrowed 

from the past to soothe our troubled brow. 

Creon the king of Thebes, blinded by spite, 

commanded that your brother, 

who had warred against the state, 

not be given burial rite, 

the time-hallowed blessed custom 

that gave the soul passage to Hades, 

the nether land of the Grecian shades. 

And so was denied an ancient right. 

But mindful of unwritten, ever-living laws 

-unchanging and just, Olympian™ 

you made sisterly lamentation 

and broke a fragile edict of man 

by sifting the soil and pouring out libation 

over his familiar form, still and wan. 

In the name of the elder faith of Hellas 

you did this, the final sacred duty 

to the body of your mother's son; 

your brother. A crown you won 

by setting his spirit free. 

The will of Zeus you honored, zealous 

in that bold act of piety and beauty. 

You were taken to a darkling cave 
to suffer and die. 
"Behold what I endure. ..for I have 
upheld that which is high." 

The words are yours, splendid maiden, 
and today we know you mourn 
with the hearts of those who are laden 
with grief for the hapless unborn. 

For they, too, bury in solemn, holy rite 
the tiny flesh spurned by minions of Creon. 
They, too, honor that eternal law 
which Hippocrates held in awe, 
and suffer, beaten by police, 
scorned as fools and pious zealots, 
ignored by libertarians and trendy prelates. 

Antigone of Hellas, alone and forlorn, 

you are sister to those 

who stand for the helpless unborn 

as once you stood for the helpless dead. 

And though you died young and unwed, 

forever you wear the thorny red rose. 

> r 


Remembering the Reading 

Summertime brought a special reward when I was very young. It was 
then my mother would take me into the center of town. She had business to 
take care of at the bank and the post office. Afterward, mother would treat 
me to a Coke at the luncheonette. None of these errands was to be the high 
point of our journey. I would fidget in my seat in anticipation of what was 
coming next. 

The best part of the adventure came when we walked down Fayette 
Street to the Conshohocken train station. The view from the bridge 
overlooking the tracks was terrific. The view from the station was even 
better. These were the tracks of the Reading Railroad. Regular passenger 
service to and from Philadelphia was provided on electric multiple-unit cars. 

The short wait was rewarded by a train pulling into the station to pick 
up and discharge passengers. The trains were towering objects of steel and 
glass that hissed, squealed, and shuddered to a stop. The silver and black 
coaches had long, neat rows of rivets and bright yellow handrails in the 
doorways. Spindly pantographs reached up to the overhead wires. Dirty 
white vapor rose from the metal boxes underneath the cars. The smell of oil, 
grease, and soot filled the air. The conductor stood by the train in his neatly 
pressed black uniform. Shiny buttons adorned his coat, and a distinguished 
trainman's hat completed his outfit. He would sing out the destination of the 
train in a loud, booming voice. "Phil-il-la-del-el-phi-ah!" With that cry, the 
engine made a grinding noise, and the train would start. The string of cars 
picked up speed, continually moving faster until they disappeared around a 

Riding the Reading into center city Philadelphia was a special 
occasion. It was exciting to climb up the steep iron steps leading into the 
train. The car had a high ceiling that curved down to meet the walls. The 
ceiling lights were encased in round bucket-like glass covers. The aisle did 
not go down the center of the car. There were seats for two passengers on 
one side and three on the other side. The seats were upholstered in a dark 
blue material that had a leaf-like pattern pressed into them. Window sills 
had black enamel paint on them worn through to the metal from many years 
of arms resting on them. 

The train always started with a jerk and a ratchet noise followed by a 
moment of coasting. This pattern was repeated several more times as the 
train accelerated. The conductor had to walk down the aisle with his feet 
wide apart for balance. He took your ticket, punched a hole in it, and then 
returned it to you. As the train approached each stop, the conductor barked 
out the names of the stations. "Shawmont...Manayunk...Wissahickon..." 

I sat peacefully and stared out of the open window as the world 
rushed by. At first, there was little to see except trees. As we approached 
the city, the trees gave way to the backs of crowded houses, freight yards 
and factories with their rail sidings and boxcars. 

The end of the line was at the Reading Terminal at 12th and Market 
Streets. I marveled at a building vast enough to enclose a dozen tracks 
under its high, arched roof. There were rows of benches and rows of phone 
booths. Newspaper stands were filled with papers, magazines, and candy. 
Passengers congregated with anticipation in front of huge sliding wooden 
doors. The moment the doors opened, the passengers crowded onto the 
boarding platform. A brightly colored sign above the doors declared the 
destinations of departing trains. The loud, scratchy public address system 
was almost impossible to understand. 

The conductor noticed me on one summer afternoon when I was 
riding back from the city. Perhaps he saw my wide-eyed look of wonder and 
obvious enjoyment as I traveled in his metal carriage. Perhaps he saw the 
unbounded pleasure of simply being allowed entrance into his kingdom. 
After a few words to my mother, he whisked me into the cab of the train only 
a few feet from where we were seated. 
My amazement ran wild. I was left utterly speechless. There stood the 

engineer himself! A tall, noble man with white hair and glasses, he wore a 
brown shirt, brown slacks, and a thick black belt. His powerful, majestic 
hands gently rested on the magic levers that controlled the machine we were 
in. The noise and air rushing into the open windows made it necessary for 
the conductor and engineer to speak with loud, deliberate voices. The exact 
words they exchanged have been lost to the ages, but the memory of the 
engineer's smile will last a lifetime. My view out of the front of the car was 
breathtaking. Trees and buildings raced past us in a blur. The tracks and 
overhead wires stretched out in front of us, growing ever closer until they 
disappeared around the next bend. Green lights on a signal pole rushed 
past us on the right. My excitement was at its peak; but then it was over all 
too soon when I had to return to the passenger compartment next to my 
mother for the rest of the ride home. 

The Reading is now gone. The commuter lines have been absorbed 
into SEPTA. Reading freight is now moved by Conrail. Today, as I drive 
across the Fayette Street bridge, I can still glance down at the train station. 
For those few moments, it is 1959 all over again. 

by Alan LaRock 


A distant moon hangs overhead 
Stars shimmering like lanterns 
Behind a veil of smokey clouds 
Inside the peace, chaos churns 

My own set of footprints, alone 
Lain to the dirge of the owl 
Heavy hangs the darkness of night 
Painful and silent my howl. 

Crossroads, heaven, hell, and the now 
Life, death, questions unanswered 
Bricks and mortar cannot save me 
Ears blind, the answers unheard 

Darkness wraps an ancient cypress 
Painful resolution rings 
Heavy fingers tie the knot 
Angels, birds begin to sing 

Dawn wisps upon the horizon 
A beauty that can't be drawn 
No hopes, fear, or promises 
Another day, time to move on. 


In rage and in apathy 

I fly out to the car, 

Find something to free my pain, 

Find something to free my demons. 

Douse the house with 


Watch it spark, watch it burn, 

All my ghosts turn to ashes. 

Douse the bed with 


The only one who ever slept 

In it was Betty the 

Blow-up lover. 

A moth drawn to flame, 
SO orange, and yellow, and red, 
Liposuction for my soul, 
Freedom in a can of gasoline. 

by: Eric Beresky 

Porch Light 

Turned on at night-fall, 
Tiny yellow porch light 
Left alone in the dark, 
Worshipped by moths 
And other strange bugs, 
A beacon in the pitch 
For sullen passers-by. 

by: Eric Beresky 

by steve kotler 

Wake up 

I heard you screaming 
But it was just a dream 
A fading glance inside you 
Just close your eyes + see... 

You'll see. 

Did you see the people 
There to take you away 
Moving westward 

If so why did you stay? 

Tell me what you thought you saw 
Standing in front of you 
Tell me what you think you see 
Standing inside me 

Lay down 

And close your eyes, now 
I'll sing a happy song 
About the voices inside you 
That never leave for long. 

Did that old man scare you 
When he set you down 
And said you'd be just like him. 
Age will make no sound. 






The Stranger 

The crash of a bomb 

and the shot of a gun 
Ring in my ears 

as I try to run 
Away from the war, 

the despair and the fear, 
Away from the death, 

the horror, the tears 
But I can't escape 

the surrounding danger 
I'm trapped in a place 

where peace is a stranger 
Where dreams have died 

along with the soldiers 
Where broken hearts lie 

among buildings that smolder. 
I fall to the ground 

and all becomes silent 
The invasion of peace 

seems unusually violent 
But a shot pierces the air 

and peace becomes an illusion. 
War is the prominent power 

and peace an intrusion. 
So the battles wage on 

now that the war has begun, 
We have lost our peace 

and the devil has won. 

by: Christina Faust 

How perceive you the images 

By which your life is clothed - 

Are they naked in spirit 

Or sheltered from the cold? 

When you wake from the sweetened slumber 

Does the world reach sudden change, 

Or is the vision surrounding still 

As your sleeping eyes arranged? 

Can you flutter in the emptiness 

And feel the moment as replete, 

Or do the hollows within yourself 

Prevent the concept of complete? 

Can you listen to the silence 

And relish the music of its sound, 

Or must you search endless symphonies 

Before harmony can be found? 

How many promising volumes 

Has your tired soul read 

Seeking truth and fortune, 

Wanting to be led? 

I'd venture that it's many 

For I've done just the same 

Uncertain of my happiness 

Unless it had a name. 

I wonder how many flowers 

I missed rushing by, 

Heading to see the garden 

And forgetting why. 

-by Carrie Preston 


Looking out a world of glass 

Shielded from the man's insanity 

I pound on the walls and I scream and I scream 

As the preacher begins the mass 

Well, my people, well well 

I see we've found our ways to hell 

You the wicked and you the damned 

And now locked in eternity 

Surrounded by insanity 

Deafening profanity 

Always feeling agony 

Blinded by nudity 

Now I guess your stuck 

Yeah, shit out of luck 

My insides started to lurch 

So I ran from that damned church 

Leaving figments of my mind 

Little blue smurfs playing in a field 
All that innocence to be stealed 
Mr. Magoo where are you? 
Hanging out with Scooby Doo 
Superman where have you gone 
Banging Minnie till the dawn. 
Little girl sitting on a shroom 
Little girl awaiting her doom 
Hoping Spiderman will come soon 
And take her back to his room. 

The diary of a drug addict's mind 
Isn't very hard to find 
Just think of a psychedelic elf 
And look inside yourself. 

Looney tunes and much much more 

Mc Donalds wrappers on the floor 

Searching for that one last match 

To pop open the escape hatch 

Do what you want 

Want what you will 

Keep your feet off the floor 

And please pay the bill 

Mr. Bill I hope 

Anybody got some smoke 

What's the joke? 

Take another toke. 

The Old Toyota 

The old Toyota 
Ain't what it use to be 
Because it tried to climb a tree, 
Because it tried to flatten me, 
And now the poor Toyota 
Is stuck up a maple tree, 
I'm glad that it just missed me, 
That Toyota's really crazy! 

Now it's stuck for everyone to see, 
Up in the maple tree, 
Old and rusty, 

The old Toyota wants to murder me, 
But I was too swift you see, 
Now it's stuck up a maple tree, 
That old Toyota ain't 
What it use to be. 

by Eric Beresky 

Eternal Play 

Go swing on the boughs 

Of an evergreen tree 

Fly off the branches 

And land beside me 

The we'll prance through the forest 

We'll dance in the spring 

Wherever we go 

Flowers we'll bring 

Scattering petals 

As remnants of joy 

All barriers from happiness 

We'll attempt to destroy 

With impish delight 

And fairy-like song 

We'll battle all the evils 

We'll undo all wrongs 

So come idealists 

Come dreamers 

Join in the fun 

Our giddy indulgence 

Has only begun 

Let's be free in our thinking 

Let's be soft in our touch 

Let's be tinkers off tinking 

Doing magic and such 

Let's always meander 

Let's get lost in our way 

Let's be children forever 

In eternal play 

by Carrie Preston 


Summer of the Butterfly 
Gail Robynne Blum 

It was the Summer of the Butterfly, 

With cotton candy-puff on high. 

A small child, 

Bent on knee to watch 

Nature's love at work. 

Noticing every notch and wrinkle 

In the snowy whiteness of the blooming cherry tree, 

And the periwinkle blue, oh-so-blue, of a summer sky. 

Yes, that child, she did manage to kiss a summertime blue 

During those long, lemonade-sipping afternoons. 

Summer's secrets she always knew. 

But time has a quick pace 

And steals away youth in its haste. 

Many summers have since melted away, 

But their memories still echo in the innocence of yesterday. 

And that child remains a child at heart. 

For she can still kiss that periwinkle-blue sky, 

By being the true child 

Of the Summer of the Butterfly. Lost, 

It's a sensation 

difficult to explain. 


in a dark forest. 

A dark forest called life 

filled with pitfalls 

and unexplainable dangers 

lurking around each turn 

behind every tree 

and beneath every rock 

It's a forest you can't escape 

But do not fear 

For it is possible 

to be 


by Christina Faust 

The Really Big Trees 

So all these weird kids 

All sort of rainbow-like 
Come to the city 

Walking in this revolving circle 
And they all say, simultaneously, 

but in different languages 
"Hey, man, we came here to plant trees." 
Trees in the city? 

"Maybe," says I. 
"Maybe," says they. 

So here they are 
Right in front of my hairy face 

Without tools 
They just claw and scrape at the ground 
Like islanders clawing at the 

Earth for water 
Some watch 

Few knelt with them 
Merchants yell unheard 

From the corner. 

A strange lot they were 
Trees in the city, what a stupid idea. 

"They'll never grow," says most. 

"Maybe, and maybe not," says few. 

"Why waste a day of it?" says most again, 
by now, talking too much 
as if they were the important ones. 


I kneel with them 

Scratching the city 

Concrete with my hands 

And rock begins to be sand 
And the most begin to murmur 
And the weird kids and I 

Actually remove the pavement, 
Making holes, 


The trees get so big 
that the whole world sees them 

And since they're 

Part rock 
Part tree 

Everybody's makin' a fuss about it 
So the weirdos and 
I, the weirdo among weirdos, 

Go back to the city 

And build these nests 
And make home in the trees 
And everybody sees 
And everybody knows 
And, eventually, 

The fuss dies down 
And we are no longer called weirdos 

Mr. Police Guy sees 
He don't like too much 

Says we gotta all go home 

Says we can't scratch that pavement 
So we throw the seeds in the holes 

Before leaving 
Because we know 
And I go to the hills with my new friends 

Looking weird walking with 
These weird kids 

In revolving circle 

So, meanwhile, 
The city boys 
Are in a tiz 

'Cause they don't like holes in the sidewalk 
Makes going to work 
Hard work 
So they fill the holes with concrete 
After a while, though, 

Trees start popping 
Through the sidewalk 

And nobody knows what to do 
Can't chop them 

They're part rock 
Can't burn them 

They're part rock 
Can't even heave your weight against them to tip'em 

They're part rock 
And nobody knows what to do 

Now, they're in a real big tiz 
They mayor's wife is bitching 
And the kids are wretched, 

Yelling loud over the teacher's call 
Because these trees were really big 
And they won't sway, let alone fall 


The wind flow with a frigid passion 

For the time was arrived when colors change. 

And each leaf feeling the spiritlessness in their own souls, 

Shake with undesirable fear for their future. 

Their fates, in the hands of age, has taken its toll. 

And the burden of life has depleted with the dawn of a new season. 

As the charm of colors fills woeful eyes, 

And a question is fresh in weary minds, 

How, with such beauty, can death come? 

And without an answer from nature, another leaf falls. 

David James Dello Russo 

The Blackhearted Rose 

the blackhearted rose 
cold, hard, black as night 
like the Midas touch turned black 
This is the tear that falls on the 
blackhearted parent's grave 
Bitter tears from dry eyes. 

-Samantha Cichocki 


Slit her wrist 
and see the 
At one time 

was euphoria 
but now 
sudden dismay 
A hint of light 

through a pane 

while on the floor, 
blood shed 
and with regret, 
a single In the 

tear end, 

falls. you took 

Heart is a piece 

beating- and left 

pulse, up- 

confusion elements me 
understood, with 

hopeful recovery 
made possible. 
Pick up the pieces- 
start over with 
a new 
chance. it was... 

In the beginning 
I thought 
you brought 

my peace. 

As it was, 

I brought 
my peace. 

no peace. 

by Kim Podolsky 

by Kim Podolsky 

The Homecoming 

Jeremiah Thornton walked swiftly through the woods that stretched for many 
acres behind the Browning estate. His torn and tattered grey uniform hung loosely 
on his now thin body. He couldn't help but remember the proud figure he had been 
when he left for the war only twelve short months before. Jeremiah held his head 
high and put his shoulders back. It didn't matter now, he was coming home and his 
Elizabeth would think him just as handsome as ever in his uniform, even if it was a 
little worse for the wear. 

Elizabeth- Jeremiah's brown eyes softened as he thought about his 
beautiful, young bride. Memories of her flowing blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes, 
and witty laugh had been the only thing to sustain him through the terrors of the 
past year. It was still hard for him to believe that she was actually his wife. Sweet 
Elizabeth. Even though they had only been able to spend three nights together as 
husband and wife, those nights had been the most wonderful three nights of his life. 

Elizabeth had had trouble from the start with her father, the upstanding 
Samuel Browning. He had vehemently denied his daughter the right to see the 
young, struggling farmer from the very beginning, but the lovestruck couple had met 
secretly, despite Samuel's efforts, for many months. Finally, in a desperate attempt 
to escape her father's strangling protectiveness, the two ran away and got married 
with plans to move to Texas and begin a new life there together. Their plans were 
ruined suddenly with the outbreak of the Civil War. It had sent Jeremiah fighting, 
and Elizabeth back to her father's house for safety's sake. 

A sudden crashing noise startled Jeremiah out of his nostalgic reverie; his 
trained reflexes sent him crouching instantly to the ground, clutching his rifle tightly 
to his side. A close survey of his surroundings proved the culprit to be an innocent, 
dead branch which had fallen from a nearby tree. 

Jeremiah picked himseff up off the ground carefully and continued slowly to 
the edge of the woods. He was only a mere hundred meters from his beloved bride. 
His heart began to beat rapidly in his chest as their imminent meeting approached. 
He stepped out into the moonlit gardens that stretched behind the mansion, and 
with the stealth of a trained and seasoned soldier, crept up to it and peered into the 
window that looked into the study. Jeremiah knew from experience that this was 
where Samuel retired each evening to smoke his pipe and to read a book. For in 
the days when he had been secretly courting Elizabeth he had kept watch while she 
climbed down the trellis that ran to her bedroom window. Now, as Jeremiah 
carefully glanced in, he saw that the old man wasn't in the room. So, with all his 
senses alert to any danger of being caught, Jeremiah turned to throw pebbles up 
at Elizabeth's window, as he had in the past, to get her attention. Just as he was 
about to launch the tiny projectiles, something unusual caught his eye. 

Over in a remote corner of the lawn was the family cemetery. When 
Jeremiah had left, there had been only three graves. Elizabeth's grandparents and 
her mother were buried there then, but now there was a fourth. Since there were 
only two possibilities for the new grave... grim thoughts crowded all at once into 
Jeremiah's mind. He at once chose the more pleasant thought. If Samuel were 
dead... He scrambled over to the fresh mound of earth and knelt down next to the 
modest cross at the head. The words ELIZABETH BROWNING stared him in the 

Dazed, Jeremiah stumbled forward and fell to his knees. It couldn't be 
possible! He raised his face to the heavens only to be faced with the angry 
presence of Samuel Browning standing protectively over the gravesite. 

"When..." began Jeremiah in a grief stricken voice. 

"She died in June, from a fever," he spit out coldly. "She was weak from..." 
Elizabeth's father stuttered and seemed to search for words, but Jeremiah didn't 
notice his unease through his grief-laden fog. "...from a sickness." he rushed out 

"Her name was Thornton, Elizabeth Thornton." Jeremiah stated flatly. "We 
were married last May." He stood up stiffly, and turned to face Samuel. "Why isn't 
Thornton written on the cross?" Jeremiah demanded, confused. 

"In my mind, she was never married to you," he uttered in disgust. "Take 
this, this blasphemy!" Samuel threw down a torn piece of paper which Jeremiah 
recognized as his marriage certificate. "Now get off my property and go back to 
your war. I never want to see you set foot on my land ever again." With that he 
turned sharply and briskly walked back to the house. 

With no strings left to hold him back, and the utter despair of the night 
crushing his heart, Jeremiah ran indifferently back into the woods In his mind he 
had nothing more to live for. The war would be his life, and he hoped, his death. 

If the blood hadn't been rushing through his head so loudly, Jeremiah might 
have heard the plaintive and soulful wail of the two-month old baby which Elizabeth 
Thornton had died for to give life to.